Best XI of ISL 2023-24 Matchday 2 ft. Luna, Silva, Boumous, and Gogoi
A crushing 1-0 clash between Goa and Punjab at Fatorda marks the end of the second matchday of the 2023-24 Indian Super League season. Matchday 2 witnessed all 12 combating clubs taking the ISL battlefield for six exhilarating clashes and the atmosphere of the Indian top-flight football heating up with top-notch action.
We saw the likes of Mohun Bagan Super Giant and Kerala Blasters retaining their position at the top of the points table while Goa and Hyderabad made their first appearances of the season. Hence, let’s have a look at the Best XI of Matchday 2 of the tenth edition of ISL.
Sachin Suresh (Kerala Blasters)
It’s quite a big achievement for the Thrissur-born youngster who is playing his first season as the first-choice keeper for his home club to make it to the Best XI on the very second matchday.
While making his only second ISL appearance, the former KBFC reserves skipper displayed exceptional performance to keep the first clean sheet of his budding career. Suresh guarded the Tuskers’ goal for the entire 90 minutes of play against Jamshedpur and went on to make three saves and a solitary clearance for the Yellow and Blues.
Prabir Das (Kerala Blasters), Asheer Akhtar (Northeast United), Rostyn Griffiths (Mumbai City), Tondonba Singh (NorthEast United)
Prabir Das carried forward the momentum he got in the opening clash with Bengaluru to the second matchday and enjoyed a fruitful outcome against Jamshedpur at home. Despite joining the Tuskers’ setup just a couple of months ago, the right-back seems to be very well-acquainted with the gaffer Ivan Vukomanovic’s system. His runs on the right wings were creating a constant threat on the Red Miners’ defensive line.
Meanwhile, Asheer Akhtar is making headlines while leading the defensive backline of the Highlanders with consistent stellar performances week in and week out. The Maharashtra-born versatile defender is not only guarding the North East United goal against star-studded attacking forces but has also started gracing the scoresheets. He netted a scorching long-range goal in stoppage time to seal the 3-0 triumph over the two-time ISL champions.
Australian defender Rostyn Griffiths was retained in the Mumbai City starting lineup by Des Buckingham despite the arrival of the stalwart Tiri and the 35-year old defender made his manager proud of his decision.
The Islanders got the equalizing goal against the deadly Odisha side in the very second minute of the second half and all credit goes to the Aussie defender. Griffiths connected an inswinging corner of Greg Stewart with a pitch-perfect headed effort to outwit Amrinder Singh and scored his third goal for the Sky Blues.
Tondonba Singh played an instrumental role in the Highlanders’ emphatic outcome. He had attacking threats coming on his flank from the likes of Alexander Romario Jesuraj, Ninthoi Meeteit, and Rafael Crivellaro but the Manipuri full-back welcomed them with a robust display.
Tondonba successfully completed 30 passes with an incredible passing accuracy of 84% and also contributed one cross in his full appearance of 90 minutes.
Phalguni Singh (NorthEast United), Hitesh Sharma (Hyderabad), Hugo Boumous (Mohun Bagan SG)
The ISL universe is witnessing the versatility of Phalguni Singh whose capability of playing in diverse positions is helping his team to cope in the competition. He was assigned with the role of attacking midfielder against Chennaiyin and the Manipuri maestro delivered it brilliantly to stage a convincing victory.
Phalguni graced his name on the scoresheet just three minutes into the second half and doubled the Highlander’s grip over the Marina Machans. He also contributed nine crosses and created one chance for his teammates to score before getting subbed off with Huidrom Thoi Singh in the 80th minute.
Hitesh Sharma was the biggest positive for the Hyderabad head coach Thangboi Singto on his debut game as the head coach of the Nizams. The Hyderabad midfield unit is fiercely led by the 25-year-old central midfielder despite the recent departure of many high-profile names. He opened the scoring against East Bengal in just the 8th minute with a well-taken goal.
The star French playmaker Hugo Boumous was sidelined from the Mariners’ Starting XI for the opening tie with Punjab as per the rotation policy of Kolkata boss Juan Ferrando. He finally made his first start of the season in the following fixture against the Blues and went on to steal the show.
The Green and Maroon Brigade managed to put up only a single shot on target in the entire play and that strike was the decisive one coming from the boots of Boumous. The 28-year-old attacking midfielder gave a befitting finish to a short free-kick taken in the 67th minute after getting assisted by Jason Cummings for the solitary goal.
Adrian Luna (Kerala Blasters), Cleiton Silva (East Bengal), Parthib Gogoi (NorthEast United)
At this point, every pundit in the ISL world is going to agree that we all should be grateful to witness ‘The Adrian Luna Era’. The Uruguayan playmaker operates as a one-man show for the Kochi-based outfit as almost all of their key goal-scoring moves are created, executed and finished by this man.
When the Tuskers’ home clash with Jamshedpur was heading towards a frustrating goalless draw, the Blasters skipper stepped up for his team and took them through. Luna scored the only goal of the Sunday night in the 74th minute after getting his second touch on the ball inside the box.
Matchday 2’s Best XI will be led by a man named Cleiton Silva who was not even the first-choice striker for the coach Carles Cuadrat in the first game. The Brazilian assailant staged a memorable turnaround for the Red and Gold Brigade after bagging a brace in his returning match to the Starting XI.
Cleiton’s first goal came from the aftermath of an amazing through ball which equalized the scoreline in the 10th minute right after conceding the opening goal a minute earlier. The 36-year-old once again erupted the EB Ultras into joy after placing a thunderous strike into the top right corner from free-kick position to claim three points in stoppage time.
One player whose name is on everyone’s lips is the 20-year-old attacking sensation Parthib Sundar Gogoi. Parthib once again got off the scoresheet with his trademark long-ranging strike into the top left corner. The Assamese rising star is enjoying his breakthrough run in the Indian top-flight football chasing the likes of Jorge Pereyra Diaz and Cleiton Silva for the prestigious ISL Golden Boot.
Vishal Kaith (Mohun Bagan SG), Odei Onaindia (Goa), Michael Zabaco (NorthEast United), Raynier Fernandes (Goa), Jerry Mawihmingthanga (Odisha), Nestor Albaich (NorthEast United), Jorge Pereyra Diaz (Mumbai City)
The MBSG guardian Vishal Kaith delivered a clinical performance against the star-studded Bengaluru attack to achieve his first clean sheet of the season. Apart from one defensive error by his fellow teammate in the opening Punjab fixture, the 27-year-old has been unbeatable at the Mariners’ goal so far with a whopping save record of 75%.
The bench also features two Gaurs, Raynier Fernandes and Odei Onaindia as they kickstarted their ISL 10 campaign with a triumph. Goa’s stalwart central defender Onaindia who was making his debut in Orange outfits outplayed the Punjabi offense to fetch the Hero of the Match honor.
Mumba Cityi’s Jorge Pereyra is proving himself to be the prime contender for the Golden Boot race after netting his third goal in just his second appearance. Diaz pulled the Islanders from another fiasco as he scored a late 88th-minute equalizer and forced the Juggernauts to share points at home.